Selfie has been named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013. It seems the rest of the world has caught on to a practise used by artists for centuries. However while the modern selfie is often a quick snapshot done to document or share a moment or event with others, often online, the traditional artist self portrait usually carries greater meaning and symbolism.
I have created numerous self portraits throughout the years, mostly as photopolymer gravure etchings based on photographs. Some of these photographs were taken by others, while others I shot myself. For the next few weeks I will be sharing some of these “selfies” with the idea and hope of starting a dialogue about the intent, meaning and value of self portraits.
The piece above is an early self portrait. I shot the picture myself while sitting around in my studio during a studio tour. I had brought my camera that day to shoot the artwork in the studio, and during a quite moment I decided to shoot some selfies. I particularly liked this one for the fact that it doesn’t appear to be a selfie. The pose is relaxed, I am looking away from the camera and it is cropped enough so that you can’t tell I am holding up a camera. As a self portrait it exudes a certain confidence and gravitas that I decided would be fitting as my gravatar for the numerous websites I post on (including this one). I have also used it for my business cards. Being an image of an artwork, it is a true gravatar, for it describes the work I do as a printmaker.
I included the piece above in my first solo show, In Her Eyes. Later I reworked it into a multilayered piece, which I called Gravatar. This piece won an Honorable Mention at the Sooke fine Art Show in 2010. I reworked the piece again, calling it Gravatar 2, for my show Mirror, Mirror. The image is repeated several times in this piece to allude to its multiple use online, and snippets of online communications from my Facebook page, blog and twitter accounts are included to further illustrate the use of this gravatar.
While creating this print I made a second one using embelishments on the ghost imagery of the first print. That print is below, titled Chia 2. It is my favorite though probably not my last of this series.
Chia, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 15″x 20″ paper, is offered this week at $200, unframed.
Gravatar 2, a mixed media monoprint on 22″x30″ paper, is offered this week at $400, unframed.
Her, a photopolymer gravure etching measuring 2″x4″x1.5″ on board, is offered this week at $100.
Chia 2, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 10″x 11″ paper, is offered this week at $200, unframed.
To purchase or for further info please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It can be said that any work of art is a self portrait for the artist invests a great deal of himself in his work. Would you agree?
If you have ever created a self portrait would you like to share it here and describe what it means to you?
What famous artist self portraits do you most admire?